I’ve been vegan for seven years now, and during this time, I have been asked the same questions again and again: Where do you get your protein from? What’s so bad about eggs? Why are you attacking people’s personal choices? Isn’t it expensive? Why not vegetarian? Why do we have canines if humans are herbivores? How could I give it up if I like the taste so much? So, you can’t eat anything? And many more.
Trust me, vegans actually do have answers to all of those questions and a lengthy conversation could address them all, but for now I think it’s time to formally debunk just a couple of the major myths. First of all, let’s talk about what it means to be a vegan. A common misconception is that veganism is a diet.
In truth, veganism is a lifestyle that opposes all forms of animal exploitation, including, but not restricted to, diet choices. In terms of diet, vegans do not eat animals or any products derived from animals, such as eggs, honey, or dairy.
Beyond that, we also choose not to purchase or wear silk, fur, wool, leather, or feathers. We do not support the use of animals for entertainment, for example in zoos, hunting, bullfighting, or racing; and we refuse to buy products that have been tested on animals.
If you feel a bit overwhelmed thinking about all that, I get it. Businesses have been thriving on animal exploitation for so long that it is deeply interwoven into our societies, cultures and habits. However, the world is changing as more people are realizing there is nothing “normal” about animal exploitation, and it’s actually an easy change to make.
Secondly, many think that vegans are nutrient-deficient extremists. Vegan diets can absolutely be safe, free from deficiencies and, in fact, healthier than carnist diets. Of course, you have to make sure you’re being healthy and not just eating junk food, but that is true for all diets. Before I went vegan I was constantly binge-eating fatty, salty, processed food and no one was concerned about whether I was eating healthy.
As soon as I went vegan, people’s interest in my blood-iron levels, my stamina, and my protein consumption sparked – all of which are doing just fine, for the record. There are many resources, guides, and medical experts out there who have answers to any questions about living a healthy plant-based life.
Ultimately, I think the most damaging myth is the impression that veganism is an extreme restriction.
The truth, which is hard for some vegans to accept too, is that veganism is one of the most basic things you can do to help animals, the environment, and humans.
What vegans are essentially doing is simply not paying for animal exploitation, environmental devastation, inhumane employment, and health issues that are a result of animal production industries. The next step is activism.
Through associations like Anonymous for the Voiceless and role models like Earthling Ed, I have just gotten started with vegan activism, and realize what a difference it makes. At the end of the day, ask yourself some questions and look into the amazing alternatives to animal products; it’s not just tofu!
Do you think animal cruelty is wrong? Do you think there is a humane way to kill someone who does not want to die? Is something morally justifiable just because it is legal, or traditional? Remember, almost no one who is vegan now was born vegan, myself included.
Everyone can make the change, if they are willing to open their minds and hearts.
To learn more, I recommend the following documentaries: Cowspiracy, What The Health, Earthlings, and Dominion. More sources can be found at: vegansociety.com & earthlinged.org